Penang Forum 1 was held at Disted College on 13 April 2008, just over a month after the BN state government fell to Pakatan control.
After the 2008 event, a Penang Forum Declaration was submitted to the state government calling for a new partnership with the Penang people based on the principles of popular participation, transparency, accountability, sustainability and social justice.
The government was also urged to set up mechanisms for civil society groups to meet with the government regularly. This would provide an avenue for these groups to make provide input into policy making, monitor and provide feedback on these policies and help the government to resolve problems and conflicts if required.
The NGOs also called for easy access to public facilities such as the Caring Society Complex and Dewan Sri Pinang for their public education activities and other events.
During 2008, twelve working groups were established involving a wide cross-section of Penangites deliberating on the issues of health, environment, labour, women, persons with disabilities, local government, youth and students, transport, arts and culture, heritage, and goodwill initiatives.
Each group eventually completed a report containing positive recommendations, which were then presented in two sittings to the Chief Minister and the State Executive Committee the following year. This effort was done in the spirit of building a positive partnership between Penangites and their state and municipal Governments.
Representatives of the following NGOs participated in the inaugural Penang Forum event and supported the Penang Forum Declaration:
- Amnesty International (AI)
- Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)
- Academy for Socio‑Economic Research and Analysis (ASERA)
- Centre for Malaysia Chinese Study
- Citizens for Public Transport Coalition (CEPAT)
- Disted College
- Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA)
- Food Not Bombs (FNB)
- Green Crusaders
- Jaringan Utara Migrasi dan Pelarian (JUMP)
- La Salle Learning Centre
- Lions Club of Georgetown Perdana
- Little Penang Street Market
- Malaysia Information Network for the Disabled (MINDS)
- Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
- Malaysian Nature Society (MNS), Penang
- National Council of Women’s Organisations (NCWO), Penang Branch
- Noise Performance House
- Ombak Arts Studio
- Pan Pacific South East Asia Women Association, Penang Chapter (PPSEWA)
- Penang Environment Working Group (PEWOG)
- Penang Heritage Trust (PHT)
- Penang Office of Human Development (POHD)
- Penang Players
- Persatuan Penduduk Taman Pauh Jaya
- Pusat Khidmat Pekerja Tanjung (PKPT)
- Pusat Komuniti dan Alam
- Sekitar (CENCED)
- Society for the DisabledSocio Economic and Environmental Research Institute (SERI)
- Students Progressive Front (SPF)
- Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Penang
- Sustainable Independent Living Access (SILA)
- Tanjung Bungah Resident’s Association (TBRA)
- Temple of Fine Arts (TFA)
- Wanita Jamaah Islah Malaysia (WJIM)
- Wawasan Open University (WOU)
- Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) Penang
- World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA)